Grateful for Slight Shifts in Thinking

As we head into the second month of the year, the month marked by fewer days and Cupid, I remember that many parts of the country seem to experience their worst weather in February, while others get their first taste of spring.

Weather seems to impact most of us. On cloudy days, we may lack energy, and when the sun is shining, we feel lighter and brighter. I think of this and it occurs to me that weather is truly a metaphor for life. We have cloudy days and storms that may leave us feeling down or frightened. We may feel isolated without enough interaction with others during challenging periods. And then suddenly the wind blows and a ray of light gives us hope that our down days are temporary and the sun-filled days have not left us forever.

I’ve come to value all seasons, having a change of heart about the weather I least enjoy. Where I once dreaded winter, because I’m a warm-weather, garden-tending, river-swimming gal, I now view it as the season given to us to slow down and recharge. I’ve come to enjoy this time indoors, trying my hand at new things, and catching up on doing favorite old things I hadn’t had time for when I was having outdoor fun.

Sometimes all it takes is a slight shift in our thinking to turn something we dislike into something we appreciate, and I feel grateful that I’ve had this shift in my thinking that will allow me to truly enjoy all twelve months of the year, and not just nine.

And I’m grateful that a shift in my thinking allows me to appreciate the days of my life where the clouds are hanging around and I can still find that beam of sun telling me the darkness isn’t forever.

______________

Deborah Perdue, RScP
Author of “Daily Gratitude Reflections” and “Grace of Gratitude Journal”
www.graceofgratitude.com
Center for Spiritual Living
Licensed practitioner
Spiritual counseling by phone or skype —
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541-862-7021

NEW FOR 2017! WEEKLY THOUGHTS OF THANKSGIVING

Each week, I will be posting Daily Gratitudes here. I send them out to my email list Monday through Fridays, and now I want to share them on my blog, as well.
To sign up to receive daily inspiring thoughts of gratitude in your email box, you can go to www.graceofgratitude.com home page and click to receive them.
Enjoy! Get inspired! Email me at info@graceogratitude.com and let me know of any you particularly like or send in your own. I would love to hear from you.
by Deborah Perdue, author of Daily Gratitude Reflections and Grace of Gratitude Journal.

1-23-17
“Our call is to stay in Amaze!”
Mark Nepo

I am so thankful to be in constant awe of the magic of life, realizing how wondrous it truly is!
Sure, sometimes I forget, but I maintain a steady viewpoint of wonder.
Creation is sublime, whether God’s infinite creations throughout universe upon universe,
or the astonishing beauty of each person’s own creativity, or my own bubbling brook of art and writing.
I relish my wide-eyed wonder, my childlike exuberance, my zest for life.
And I am grateful to be sure that I will stay in Amaze forever.

1-24-17
“The covenant of love is to expect that those we care for will change and blossom.”
Mark Nepo

I am grateful to go against conventional wisdom that says that people don’t change.
In my own life, I have watched myself and others evolve, grow and change in monumental ways,
so I know it is possible.
I am so glad to watch those around me use their life lessons and challenges as spiritual fodder
to become more of the best of themselves!
Thankfully, I honor transformation and the new.

1-25-17
“Perseverance furthers.”
I Ching

I am grateful to watch healing happen in my life, both physically and emotionally.
What started out as a medical wake-up call is being reversed with actions steps, and querying into root causes underneath the diagnosis.
Completely thankful that I listened, paid heed and corrected places
where I wasn’t taking care of my body temple
and even more thankful to uncover unhealed places within, with the help of amazing healers.

1-26-17
I am grateful for sparkling sunshine and deep blue skies, after snow and rain and winter fog!
Today’s show of bright light was dazzling!
When the sun shines after somber grey skies, I feel like a groundhog blinking in the light,
coming out from my hole.
Along with later sunsets, today’s sunshine reminds me that warmth and comfort and verdant new growth will be here soon.
And the weather and seasons are a metaphor:
When I’m feeling sad or depressed, I am grateful that newfound joy is never that far away either.

1-27-17
I am in gratitude for remembering that beyond all the discord and upset and anger in the world, that is even within me to a degree, there is also a quiet, comforting, serene Presence always there for us.
It is the quiet love, the quiet peace, the oneness that permeates all of life, and is deep within me and you, always.
Right there for the listening.
I am thankful to be able to connect with God and feel that support and guidance.

1-28-17
“Happiness is to appreciate what you have; unhappiness is to dwell on what you don’t have.”
Rabbi Shimon Ben Zoma (2nd century)
The idea of being grateful couldn’t be simpler.
It is focusing on what we have, thus feeling fulfilled and rich with appreciation!
It’s not always easy to stay in that space, though, with all the twists and turns and dramas of life.
I am so thankful to dedicate myself to being a Gratitude Gal.

If I lose my perspective and start griping or complaining,
then I mentally start counting my blessings or put them on paper.
A wise mentor told me to go on a Rampage of Appreciation when feeling down,
thinking of every single thing that is great about my life, and I find it works.

When I stay in gratitude, I stay in peace and love and joy.

The Power of Keeping a Gratitude Journal or Gratitude Diary & how the Grace of Gratitude Journal Came to Be

Most of my life, I have been an avid journal keeper. Starting with the magic and fun of locked diaries when a little girl; to journals chronicling my life in my 20s and 30s; eventually graduating to Julia Cameron’s suggested stream-of-conscious journaling later on, from her great book The Artist’s Way, I have done it all.

Then, about 10 years ago, through a spiritual mentor of mine, I was introduced to the path of gratitude! She recommended to a group of us that we begin recording 5 things we are grateful for every day for 40 days in a journal, to change our habit, which would bring about more joy and peace and satisfaction in our lives. The bright idea she proposed was that with focus on what is right in our lives, instead of lamenting what is wrong, we would invite in more positivity!

This practice really worked for me! I was hooked, and I keep a Gratitude Journal to this day.

As I became more and more grateful, and subsequently happier with my life, I felt inspired to share this potent practice with others – to help bring more gratitude into more people’s lives, and to help change the world in a beneficial way.

Since I am a book designer by profession, the idea of creating a beautiful Gratitude Journal was natural. I asked my artist partner, Tara Thelen, if she would be willing to contribute her gorgeous watercolors to the proposed Journal, and she said an enthusiastic yes! I then looked through my wide variety of thoughts of thanksgiving, and gathered the best of the best to inspire the readers on alternate pages, and interspersed lined pages for the reader to write in their own “gratitudes.” Voila! The Grace of Gratitude Journal was birthed! We pitched it to a few publishing companies, such as Hay House, and they politely turned us down. So, the Journal was in gestation for a few years.

Then, I shared it with a friend, who loved it and believed in it and us, and funded half of the publishing costs, so that we could get it printed! I remember very well the awe and thrill and wonder I felt holding the printed version in my hands!

What I am most grateful for now is the people who have shared how much it has helped them in their lives. I love that I have paid it forward, that our Journal is so unique, and that more and more people are finding it and cherishing it and most importantly, using it. It has also been used in large healing workshops, gifted to the participants by the facilitators, to my delight.

Being grateful for what one has is such a transformative practice. The idea is simple but it takes dedication to make it work in our lives. The rewards of being appreciative ripple out, like ripples in a pond, touching others too.

It makes me proud to be part of a grand Gratitude movement in this world, joining others who are gratitude proponents, such as Deepak Chropa, Neale Donald Walsch, Brené Brown, Oprah and many other spiritual leaders. How good is that?!

And just like a daily gratitude App you might have on your phone, I also offer Daily Gratitude Thoughts to an email list, and have been doing so for several years. If you would like to receive my free daily “gratitudes,” you can sign up at the home page of www.graceofgratitude.com.

I was interviewed on Awesome Gang!

Awesome Gang is a website “Where Awesome Readers Meet Awesome Writers” and their mission is to help readers discover new authors. They have published an interview with me and you can read it below. You can also find it on their website at http://awesomegang.com/deborah-perdue/.

deborah-awesomegangTell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
My calling is being in gratitude and helping others to find their way in this practice as well. So far, I have published four books on this subject: two Grace of Gratitude Journals (with lined pages for the reader to write in their own thoughts of thanksgiving with inspiring passages by me and gorgeous full color watercolor art by Tara Thelen. I have written a 4×6″ book called “Grace of Gratitude Reflections” which is filled with grateful passages about life. We also have a wonderful Coloring Book called “Path of Gratitude” filled with hand-drawn black & white illustrations by Tara, and then the left hand pages have the illustrations continued, with a short thought of thanksgiving and then lines for the reader to write in their own thoughts.

I live in the country of Southern Oregon, love it and enjoy friends and family, nature, pets, reading, writing, creating art, photography, people and meditation. I am a spiritual person and a licensed practitioner for the Centers for Spiritual Living. I teach classes and workshops and facilitate retreats on the subjects of gratitude, and finding more peace and joy in our lives. I am married and we have two dogs we adore, and two cockatiels. I am a stepmom to three amazing young adults, and grandmother to 2 young boys through my marriage. I love the rivers nearby and swim as much as I can in the hot summertime.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My soon-to-be published book is called “Daily Gratitude Reflections, 365 Guides to Great-full Living” and is filled with day after day of grateful thoughts, which I compiled from the emails I send out each day to people who sign up on my website. This book can be used daily, perhaps in the morning time, to start your day out in appreciation for all the good in life.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?
My daily gratitude email list has helped me to write every day.

What authors, or books have influenced you?
Many spiritual authors books have influenced me, including Deepak Chopra, Mark Nepo, Thich Nat Hanh, Carolyn Myss, Marianne Williamson, A Course in Miracles, Ernest Holmes, etc. etc. etc. I have a long list of spiritual mentors through their books!

What are you working on now?
See above.

What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Catherine Lyons has been wonderful assisting me with social media. We have a website www.graceofgratitude.com which is our main method of getting the word out about our books.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write about what you love. Keep plugging away!

What is the best advice you have ever heard?
It is impossible to complain or feel lacking in your life, or mad or angry, if you are in gratitude for all that you have.

What are you reading now?
Carolyn Myss’ book, “Entering the Castle” is my favorite spiritual book I am reading right now; fiction-wise I have been on a jag of reading Kristen Hannah, devouring every book she has written.

What’s next for you as a writer?
After the Daily Guides, I would like to write a spiritual book, perhaps on gratitude. I am not sure yet, and I will listen and see what Spirit has in store for me.

If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
A few of my very favorite spiritual books, probably Mark Nepo and Ernest Holmes.

50 Free Things to Be Grateful for!

“If you want to feel rich, just count all the gifts you have that don’t cost money.”
Proverb

I am so thankful for the gifts of my life, that are free and unfettered. Good health, stable home life, love that abounds, pets that adore, country living, wondrous nature, my own creativity, the ability to give and receive, sparkling night skies and waters, the overall magic and wonder and mystery of life that is always visible when I open my spiritual eyes to see. I am in deep gratitude for the lavish riches of life!

If you want to feel more abundance, if you want to feel more prosperous even if you don’t have much money, take time to savor all the things in your life that don’t cost anything. Feeling grateful is the antidote to not-enoughness, because we are focusing on what is there, what we have, rather than what we don’t. We can take stock of many, many things that are abundant in life when feeling scarcity and immediately feel better. Below is a list of 50 things I am grateful for that don’t cost a dime. Join me and make the list longer!

1. Waking up to a new dawn each morning with brand new possibilities
2. A friend who loves me unconditionally
3. Loving and accepting someone unconditionally
4. Taking a walk in nature
5. Sunflowers brightly blooming in the summertime
6. A profusion of Golden Delicious apples on a tree in our yard
7. The beauty of reflections in water
8. A newborn infant’s eyes
9. The devoted, unfailing love of a dog or cat
10. Dramatic sunsets on the beach
11. Laughing and being silly
12. Imagination
13. Spirituality
14. Sharing
15. Caring
16. Being willing
17. Being nurtured and nurturing
18. Freedom
19. Free will!
20. The realization that life is infinite
21. Gazing at a night sky
22. Enjoying the sound of a stream or river or waterfall
23. Communication
24. Intuition
25. Creativity!
26. Peace, quiet, serenity
27. Appreciating the change of seasons
28. All the colors of the rainbow
29. Music and rhythm and harmonious singing
30. Hugs and kisses
31. Snuggling
32. Fresh clear water to drink and swim in
33. Wildlife – deer and jack rabbits
34. Feeling oh so deeply and passionately
35. Baby lambs, puppies, and kitties
36. The beauty of snowflakes falling
37. Joy!
38. All the colors of the rainbow
39. Dancing
40. Fragrances like lavender, rosemary and thyme
41. Library books
42. Positivity and optimism
43. Meditation
44. Gifts
45. Kind deeds and compassion
46. Non-judgmental understanding
47. Peace like a river
48. Honesty and integrity
49. Self-Love
50. Living in gratitude

Deborah Perdue is the author of several books on the topic of gratitude. She has written two Grace of Gratitude Journals, Grace of Gratitude Reflections and is presently working on a new book, Daily Gratitude Reflections – 365 Guides to Great-ful Living to be released Fall 2016. www.graceofgratitude.com. She teaches workshops, classes and retreats on the topics of gratitude, and bringing more joy and peace into our lives. She is also an accomplished book designer, www.illuminationgraphics.com and a nature photographer.

Gratitude Definition

by Deborah Perdue

Gratitude Defined

Gratitude can be defined as the act or quality of being thankful or appreciative of something that has been done to you or for you. It is an abstract noun and is commonly used interchangeably with words such as thankfulness, indebtedness and appreciation. The word ‘grateful’ is closely associated with gratitude, because a person who is grateful is showing gratitude.

Origin and history of the word

The word gratitude originates from the old Latin word ‘gratus’ which roughly translates to a state of being pleased. As old Latin was phased out by medieval Latin, ‘gratus’ turned into the word ‘gratitudo.’ It is believed that the Old French language had a role to play in this change. Etiologists and linguistic experts believe that the word was adopted into the English vocabulary in the early 1800s. It has since given rise to new words like ‘grateful’ and ‘gratefulness.’

Interpretation of gratitude in different cultures
Gratitude is commonly accepted all over the world as an admirable virtue. People believe that there are many ways of showing gratitude. The simplest is by verbally expressing your appreciation. The phrases ‘thank you’, ‘I am grateful’ and ‘I really appreciate’ are among the most commonly used. Different cultures have their own unique phrases used to express gratitude with examples being ‘gracias’ from Spanish language and ‘Asante’ from Swahili.
The other culturally-accepted form of gratitude is through giving gifts. These vary from culture to culture. Some people give money, others give actual little tokens while others go to the extent of offering things like their livestock or food.
Finally, gratitude can be expressed by showing the person kindness and offering them a service that will warrant their gratitude. For example, if a young messenger comes a long way to deliver a package, in addition to saying thank you and tipping them you could offer them some water or write a good review about them or their company. This way, there is mutual appreciation.

Examples of heartwarming gratitude stories in history
Even before the word gratitude was coined, the quality was alive and well in almost all parts of the world. One of the most famous stories of gratitude in history is the Biblical story of the ten lepers. It is said that after Jesus healed them, and only one came back to say thank you. This impressed Jesus so much that he pronounced added blessings upon his life. In this case, both parties showed gratitude; one verbally and the other in kind.
A second example is a more recent one involving a stranded school girl and a homeless person
in Preston. The young Preston Art School student found herself stranded and without money to get a taxi to take her home. The homeless man known as Robbie, seeing the girl’s distress offered to give her three pounds which was all he had. She declined the offer, but was very touched by Robbie’s willingness to give up all he had to help a complete stranger. The young girl expressed her gratitude by spearheading a fundraising campaign to raise money to help the old man. They managed to raise twenty thousand pounds.

Bottom line
After all is said and done, there is no denying that gratitude is one of the most important human virtues. As Cicero wisely put it, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues — it is the parent of all others.”

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